Strategic Maneuvering Gives UCCS the Edge in Win over Highlands

By Doug Fitzgerald published October 31, 2008

COLORADO SPRINGS - University of Colorado at Colorado Springs women's soccer coach Nichole Rick did some strategic maneuvering Friday afternoon.

The results, to say the least, were favorable.

Jessica Escobedo had two goals and Becca Scheele had two assists to lead the Mountain Lions to a 4-1 victory over the New Mexico Highlands Cowgirls Friday afternoon at Mountain Lion Stadium.

Escobedo had been playing outside midfielder until Friday.

"I've wanted to play (forward) all season but I played my part playing out wide," said Escobedo. "When they threw me up top I was excited. I just wanted to go out there, play hard and do what I could."

What she could do was plenty. The four goals matched the highest offensive output by the Mountain Lions' first-year program. UCCS (5-12-1, 3-9 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) also scored four goals against Colorado Christian on Oct. 5.

But that wasn't the only change. Lauren Hall, who had been playing sweeper since Lindsay Link was injured in the eighth game of the season, took over at outside mid where her speed and conditioning could be made use of. It also allowed her to dominate the wing, where she's what Rick called "a brick wall out there."

That move was made possible by Rick's confidence in Amy Ross to step in and handle the critical sweeper position. Also, Josi Heer, who has played all over the field but mostly up top recently, came off the bench and played shut-down defense against the Cowgirl's pesky Monica Vazquez.

"(The moves) paid off well for us today," said Rick.

The Mountain Lions outshot New Mexico Highlands 24-14.

We've been working a lot on getting a lot of shots in practice, taking a shot the second you've got it instead waiting and taking an extra touch," said Rick. "It's definitely shown in the shot ratio."

UCCS, which has been eliminated from playoff consideration, will play its final match of the season at 11 a.m. Sunday against Colorado School of Mines at Mountain Lion Stadium.

Escobedo opened the scoring just 3 minutes, 5 seconds into Friday's match. Scheele headed a shot that Highlands goalkeeper Shannon Delarosbil was able to deflect, but not control. Escobedo, who was charging the center of the goal, headed the rebound into the net.

"I saw Becca go in and saw that the ball bounced in from of the goal," said Escobedo. "I wanted to crash the goal and get any trash I could. (The ball) bounced to me and I headed it in."

A corner kick set up the second UCCS goal in the 41st minute. Hall's cross pulled Delarosbil off her line, but she was only able to graze the ball. Scheele touched it backwards, where Krista Mirabelli chipped it over the now-out-of-position keeper.

A lethargic start to the second period was energized in the 54th minute. Ross took a free kick from 50 yards out that bounced at the top of the penalty area. Delarosbil started to charge the ball before realizing she wouldn't be able to reach it. She stopped and retreated, but it was too late as the carom went over her head and into the goal.

New Mexico Highlands (4-12-2, 2-10 RMAC) cut the deficit just five minutes later. Jessica Aguilar dribbled across the penalty area, drawing UCCS defenders with her, before playing the ball back. Ashley Rosales snuck up unmarked from the midfield and one-timed the ball past UCCS goalkeeper Amie Kern.

The final score came by way of good ball movement in the 83rd minute. Heer sent a pass to Julia Saenz, who quickly touched it on to Escobedo. Melissa Aragon, who had replaced Delarosbil in goal, took a premature step toward Heer when she had the ball and found herself too far away from her net when Escobedo collected it. Seeing that, Escobedo floated it over the top for her second goal of the day and third of the season.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Amie KernAmie Kern1GK
Krista MirabelliKrista Mirabelli13F
Amy RossAmy Ross21U
Lauren HallLauren Hall22M/D
Becca ScheeleBecca Scheele20
Jessica EscobedoJessica Escobedo6F/M
Josi TalbotJosi Talbot5U
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